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Blue Ridge Health District, Charlottesville pediatrician prepare for COVID vaccines for kids 5-11

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 8:49 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As the data on COVID vaccines for kids 5-11 years old moves its way through scientific and government panels, Central Virginia is preparing to give the shots.

“We will be ready to go the first week that the vaccine is approved and available” said Paige Perriello, a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville.

Perriello and her team say they’re ready to go once the shots are.

Approving the doses for kids 5-11 still has to go through CDC and FDA panels, but Blue Ridge Health District COVID Incident Commander Ryan McKay said we could be nearing the end of the long process.

“Our anticipation, our planning, is that we will be able to offer the vaccine either at the end of that first week of November or at the beginning of the following week, depending on how [Virginia Department of Health] and Virginia receives the information and then approves it.”

McKay said shots will be available in many of the same ways they are now, including at the new vaccine clinic at the “Big Lots” shopping center.

“The other would be us being available in the community, either at local schools or using our mobile unit to go into communities and offer the vaccine in similar ways that we’ve been offering it.”

BRHD also plans to give shots to private practices and pediatricians. That’s a decision Perriello says can be beneficial for kids.

“Families are excited. They’re relieved. They’re nervous. They’re used to talking to us about vaccines so it’s an easy conversation for us to have” said Perriello.

There is one potential complication: the vaccine given to these youngest kids can’t be the same as the one for adults. Administers will have to use a different vial.

McKay said it’s too soon to know if this will cause any supply issue.

“What’s that going to look like in practice? Is that going to create any sort of supply disruptions? Is that going to create any sort of on-the-ground changes that it’s going to make it more difficult for us to get more children in? I think it remains to be seen,” said McKay.

Pediatric Associaties of Charlottesville has a sign-up list for those interested in getting vaccinated. Eventually, it will open up drive-through clinics for those kids 5-11.

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